Steamboat hockey flies by Air Academy

Steamboat Springs High School hockey players Grant McNamara, 18, and Matt Kempers put the squeeze on Air Academy’s Dylon Newhouse on Friday. Steamboat put that kind of pressure on the Kadets all night as it piled up a big win.
Joel Reichenberger

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Twice late in Friday’s Steamboat Springs High School hockey game it all starred Sailors’ goalie Patrick Sumner in the face, a breakaway by the opponent, one-on-one isolation. A chance for that opponent to get back in the game?

Twice Sumner came up with big stops, shining on a night when he had plenty of company.

Steamboat poured in five goals in the third period and got tremendous defensive play throughout the game as it ground Air Academy, 8-1.

“Between our defense and our goaltending, I couldn’t be any happier,” coach Ernie Thiel said.

Peyton Tritz has logged most of the minutes in goal this season, but Sumner got the start Friday.

“I have confidence in both of them, and so does the team,” Thiel said.

The win sends Steamboat one step closer to the most decisive stretch of its regular season, next week as it will play Tuesday on the road against Aspen, Friday at home against Fort Collins and Saturday at home again against Regis Jesuit.

Aspen is 4-0-2 and in second place in the Peaks Conference. Regis is 6-0 and tied for first in the Foothills Conference and Fort Collins is 4-1-1 and in second in the Pinnacle Conference, right behind Steamboat, 8-1.

First, however, the Sailors need to get by Liberty, currently the last-place team in Steamboat’s conference and sporting a 1-8 record but the only team that’s beaten the Sailors yet this season, a 3-1 December stunner.

That game is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Howelsen Ice Arena.

“Hopefully we’ll get a different result,” Thiel said. “That was a game where we shot ourselves in the foot and our guys are chomping at the bit for redemption.”

If Steamboat is as explosive as it was Friday night, the result may be different this time around.

Steamboat got a goal from Luke Borgerding in the first period, then one from Sean Sullivan in the second, and another from Nate Kelley.

David LaPointe started the scoring in the third and that quickly turned into an avalanche. Borgerding connected again for his second goal. Matt Kempers scored and Griffin Maltby scored twice to finish off the game.

“We were trying to be too fancy in the first two periods. We had tons of opportunities,” Thiel said. “We had to finally realize we needed to get focused and just get some pucks on net.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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